The Names of the Canary Islands and their Verification

  • James Krüss
Part of the Monographiae Biologicae book series (MOBI, volume 30)


As names for the archipelago we have to discuss the following: the Elysian Fields, coming from Homer (about 800 BC), Odyssey, IV, 563–568, adopted by the Greek geographer Strabo (63 BC-AD 26); the 3 Gorgones and the 3 Hesperides, coming from Hesiod (about 800 BC) in his ‘Theogony’; the Happy Islands, coming from a wide-spread mythical tradition; the Atlantides, coming from Plato’s dialogues ‘Timaios’ and ‘Kritias’1 (428/27–348/347 BC), adopted by the Greek biographer Plutarch (about AD 50–119) and discussed by innumerable authors, the Eternal Islands 2, coming, as far as I can see, only from Arabian authors about AD 1000, for example from Abu Ubayd al-Bakri who also tells us that in Greek these islands were called Quartianis 3 (maybe from gr. χύαρ, ‘cave’); and finally the Canariae Insulae, first so named as a group of islands by the African author Arnobius, who died in AD 330. Highly doubted is a relationship between the Canaries and the ‘Island of the nappies’ in the Irish myth, Mag Meli, which was reigned over by Thetra, the King of the Fomores. (Famara is the name of a bay and a mountain on Lanzarote.)


Canary Island Spanish Word Geographical Knowledge Dwelling Place Single Island 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Notes and Sources

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    Literature to find in G. Kunkel, op. cit., p. 62.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Dr. W. Junk b.v., Publishers, The Hague 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Krüss

There are no affiliations available

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